The current fashion landscape is in flux. From the recently released EU Textile Strategy to a growing number of industry reports (Berg et al., 2019; WRAP, 2020a, b; EEA, 2022), fashion’s dirty secret – its waste problem – has received increased attention. However, despite this growing body of research, it is unclear how it can be fully addressed and what actionable solutions might look like. For example, it has been argued that “extending the life of clothing by an extra nine months could reduce carbon, waste and water footprints by around 20–30% each” (EAC, 2019). But, how do we get there?
We know that the linear (take-make-use-dispose) economy is an unsustainable business model and circular economy principles of open and closed loops have been proposed as solutions (e.g., EMF, 2017; Niinimäki, 2018). Yet whether this is a feasible solution is questionable, seeing as the fashion industry is not only truly global, with supply chains spanning across multiple countries and often continents, but also collaboratively works together with other industries.
Indeed, it is important to keep in mind that the fashion industry does not operate in a vacuum, but rather is reliant on other industry sectors to be able to fully capitalise on their potential and reduce the impact it has on the natural and also social environment.
Thus, this thematic session continues on from past PLATE conference sessions that look at mending and wasted (PLATE 2015), engaging consumers in extending the product life (PLATE 2017), strategies looking at repair (PLATE 2019), and limiting consumption behaviours (PLATE 2021).
This thematic session seeks to bring together individuals from different fields to discuss:
1) What current issues are related to fashion waste and circularity;
2) How the EAC’s (2019) suggestion of extending the life of garments by an extra nine months can be made into a reality;
3) What consumers can do to reduce the impact their loved and pre-loved garments have on the natural and social environment;
4) What current developments (e.g., technology) are that could accelerate circularity;
5) And what the implications for urban development and policy may be
Session owners: Dr Claudia E Henninger, Dr Taylor Brydges, Dr Songyi Yan, Dr Helen McCormick, The University of Manchester, University of Technology Sydney, University of Toronto Mississauga and Manchester Metropolitan University